The Mental Health Commission of NSW has received more than 200 submissions from patients, carers, doctors and nurses that provide insights into the “lived experience of medication use” in mental illness.
The summary report released on Wednesday reveals that patients would like GPs to inform them about all possible treatment options, involve them more in the decision-making process, and take their concerns seriously.
Some of the specific recommendations include:
- The prescription pad should not be reached for too quickly. Non-pharmacological options such as counselling, cognitive behaviour therapy and exercise should be offered first.
- Side effects must be part of up-front discussions about treatment options.
- The potential for sexual side effects should be discussed openly and honestly to help alleviate unnecessary shame.
- Better understanding is needed if a patient decides to go off their medication.
- Every general practice should have a practice nurse who has experience in mental health.
- Patients should not be made to feel like a failure if their condition d oes not improve.
- GPs should have regular conversations with patients about how their medication is going and whether there is the possibility of safely reducing or ceasing the medication.